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Is Total Veganism Achievable?

Updated on May 10, 2015

In a word: NO.

But the journey is still very much worthwhile because the greater our strides, the bigger the difference we make to ourselves, the larger society, and the environment.

The reason I assert that total veganism is not achievable (at least not in the immediate future) is because animal-derived products and ingredients are in so many things that we use in our daily lives.

Some of these animal-derived products can be easily identified and exchanged for cruelty-free alternatives.

But the extent of animal exploitation in our modern society is so pervasive, and often so invisible, that it is impossible for me to imagine someone navigating their way to being able to live as a productive and engaged member of society without directly or indirectly using products that are 100% cruelty-free.

Vegan and eco-friendly household cleaner
Vegan and eco-friendly household cleaner | Source

Personal and Household Products

It is not too difficult to find cruelty-free personal care products, household cleaners, cosmetics, clothing, and many other items we typically use on a regular basis.

However, it's not always feasible to choose them. For one thing, products labeled "cruelty-free" or "green" often command a higher price, and not everyone is in a position to afford these purchases.

As another example, some people require serious heavy-duty boots or work gloves to perform their jobs safely. Although the variety and quality of leather alternatives is increasing, vegan boots simply do not "stand up" to the abuse that leather boots do.

Vegan Products

Jason Pure Natural Shampoo, Restorative Biotin, 16 Ounce
Jason Pure Natural Shampoo, Restorative Biotin, 16 Ounce

There are many, many vegan, earth-friendly products for personal care and household cleaning.


Hidden Animal Products

Looking beyond the more visible culprits, animal products may be used in (or used to process) a shocking number of things that aren't normally associated with animal-derived ingredients.

This list includes plastic bags, bike and car tires, many medicines, biofuels, beer, wine, sugar, paint, plastic, rubber, cardboard, paper, glue used to bind books, wax paper, plywood, drywall, freon, ceramic tile, asphalt, concrete, brake fluid, and antifreeze.

Feeling overwhelmed?

I understand!

This is why I suggest focusing on those areas where you can make a meaningful difference in your own life and not unreasonably worrying about the multitude of products that are well beyond your control.

While there are incomprehensibly gigantic hurdles to climb in order to create a vegan world, simply making changes in your own life, to the extent that you personally are able to do so, does send a message "out there."


Voting with the Consumer Dollar

If enough of us are sending the message that we support a cruelty-free standard, the free market will expand the vegan niche. Indeed, that is exactly what has been happening! Without consumer demand for such products, we would not be seeing the wide variety of "cruelty-free" and "green" choices that are often readily available in local stores.

Being vegan is about the journey, not the destination. The point is not that we are going to actually fix the entire system (at least not at this moment in time). Rather, the point is to do our part in moving society forward toward a more ethical, sustainable standard.

Being an example to others as we live our lives and putting forth some extra effort to improve consumer, environmental, and animal rights standards is an honorable path to walk and does make a difference to ourselves and our world!

What is your opinion?

Do you work toward goals that are important but not achievable?

See results

What do you think? - Your comments are welcome

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    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      I think it's a challenge, today, to eat right.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @grifith: Thank you!!!

    • profile image

      grifith 5 years ago

      I like this lens, Good Job

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 5 years ago

      Very cool info...some interesting things i had not realized were notvegan. Tx

    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @pheonix76: Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @rawwwwwws lm: I truly believe that your friend's personal health must be the most important factor in her decision. Even if one honestly must eat animal products, there are ways to do that to minimize the negative impact, such as limiting the amount to only what is necessary. Best to live to fight the good fight, right?

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 5 years ago

      It is possible, my friend sadly had to eat meat because of her health.. the medicine and pills were not doing it, but she felt soo guilty... It definitely is possible!

      Back then people never had processed foods, just fruits and vegetables

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

      Thanks for writing this lens -- I think many people don't even stop to consider just how pervasive animal products / bi-products have become. I am a vegetarian and I decided to become one because I didn't see the point in eating the flesh of animals that have suffered when there are so many alternatives available. Thanks for helping to spread the word.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Lenskeeper: Thanks! I totally agree with you that we're moving in the right direction! Way to go!

    • Lenskeeper profile image

      Lenskeeper 5 years ago

      I have been a vegetarian for about 30 years, but I always say that I'm close to a vegan but not a vegan. I agree that it's at least next to impossible to be a vegan right now because of the extensive animal ingredients in items, BUT I'm always hopeful. Vegetarianism has come a long way since I became veg, and I have faith that it will go much further! Nice lens :)